Monday, July 18, 2011

51-45: Milwaukee splits in Denver; Next Stop is Phoenix...

  Odd...Milwaukee was in 3rd place after Friday's loss in Colorado.  Pittsburgh was in 1st.  That being said...

  What started off as a debacle ended in a some promise.  Milwaukee dropped the first 2 games of the 4 game series in Denver, only to narrowly beat the Rox the final 2 games.  Yovanni Gallardo allowed a season-high 11 hits and Milwaukee as a whole gave up 20 in their 12-3 loss.  Chris Narveson didn't fare much better on Friday night when the Colorado shut-out the Crew 4-0.  Despite Corey Harts late-inning HR on Thursday night on Thursday, Milwaukee had failed to score in 15 out of their last 16 innings.  To cap things off, Ryan Braun saw his hit streak come to an end at 23.  He's now 3rd on the club's hit streak list, 1 shy of 2nd place. 

And then Ron Roenicke decided that change FINALLY needed to he switched up the batting order by putting Rickie Weeks in the 5th hole.  To those outside the state of Wisconsin, this news is no big deal.  But to Wisconsin and was a change that should've been made at least 2 seasons ago.  Rickie Weeks was brought up through the farm system as the lead-off hitter.  In fact, he has never started in any other slot than lead-off.  He's batted 5th before after a substituting, but for the past 5+ years Rickie Weeks has been the lead-off hitter for Milwaukee in order to protect Prince Fielder.  Simple enough concept, but for some reason Ned Yost, Ken Macha, and Ron Ron (the latter is partially to blame) failed to realize that this should've been done years ago.  Coming at even a bigger surprise was Josh Wilson replacing Yuni Betancourt's struggling ass.  More on that later...Corey Hart, who was hitting 5th, was bumped up to lead-off.  He hasn't been in that spot since 2009. 

I would say this: As a result of Roenicke's batting order change, Milwaukee's offense saw a "jolt" in their offense.  The Crew was finally able to match Colorado's offensive punch by beating them 8-7 on Saturday and 4-3 in Sunday's game.  The Rockies kept coming back on Saturday's game and despite having a 3-0 lead.  But it was Rickie Weeks (in the 5th spot) that hit a 2-run home run off of their closer Houston Street.  Milwaukee then saw their newest addition in Franky Rodriguez do work on the Rox in a 1-2-3 8th inning before Axford earned his  24th save and 25th on Sunday. 

Speaking of Sunday, Shaun Marcum had to exit early after the 5 complete innings due to a neck soreness, after he made a web gem of a play throwing out a runner at 1B.  Apparently it's not an issue, just tightness, but Milwaukee has to be worried.  Their top hurler in the first half of the season has now struggled or exited early in his starts since mid June while in Boston.  Even more worrisome is the fact that he hadn't earned a win since June 13th in Chicago?  I didn't have time to fact check that, but I want to say that's true--and I heard Provis say something about that.  Marcum however, is not expected to miss a start.

To make matters worse, Ryan Braun strained his hamstring and had to leave Saturday's game.  He was available to pinch hit on Sunday, but I truly feel that he tweaked it and Milwaukee's being overly cautious. 

Josh Wilson, despite colliding with Casey McGahee's attempt to catch a foul ball, has been pretty damn good at SS.  He went 4 for 8 in the 2 games he's started and collected a double. Let's see if that continues in Arizona.

Rumors were flung around this weekend about the Brewers having interest in Wilson Betemit, the 3B from the Royals.  No, Ned thanks. Jamey Carroll was another name mentioned over the weekend.  Again, Milwaukee should set their sites on Taylor Green and work-in a platoon type situation.  I know that's hard to do with the Gomez-Morgan platoon going roster space, but perhaps Gomez should be optioned down in order to try it.  Morgan is MORE than capable of playing every day, especially with Kotsay playing well in the reserve. 

Recently, the Timber Rattlers (Appleton) and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their relationship.  How does a major league team NOT have a low A team near their city?  It's so much easier for rehab stints.  Milwaukee always had a local team in Beloit, but then that relationship switched a minor league team in West Virginia (the Power).  Luckily, Appleton knew they had something special to offer Milwaukee. 

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